A holding midfielder by trade whose usual task is to help protect the defence, McTominay provided a swift reminder of his attacking qualities in Sunday’s first top-flight meeting between two of English football’s fiercest rivals for 16 years.
The Scotland international became the first player ever to score two goals within the first three minutes of a Premier League fixture as he first surged forward to beat Illan Meslier with a swerving shot after 67 seconds before then slotting home a second in quick succession.
That quick-fire brace set up United for a 6-2 rout that took them up to third in the table and only five points adrift of leaders Liverpool with a game in hand.
“Scott [McTominay] used to be a striker as a kid,” Solskjaer told the BBC after the game. “He is a physical monster – he can win in the air, he wins tackles, but he’s so strong and he’s quick as well.
“He just ran into the space that we hoped he would get and it was good work by the other players to create the space and good finishes.
“I have to stop Scott from doing that sometimes – he is an attacking midfielder by nature. But when he sees space in front of him, why stop him? But he’s great at shielding his back four.”
There was no update on a late knock suffered by man-of-the-match McTominay, who appeared to be nursing a groin injury as the hosts finished a memorable encounter with 10 men after using all of their substitutions.
Solskjaer will hope the issue is nothing serious as United prepare to travel to face Everton in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals at Goodison Park on Wednesday before festive fixtures against Leicester, Wolves and Aston Villa.